(Yicai Global) Dec. 14 -- China and Mauritius yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to open negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries. The deal marks the official initiation of China-Mauritius negotiations on FTA, which will be the first such agreement between China and the African countries. The MOU also calls for the establishment of a free trade zone (FTZ) between the two countries.
Wang Shouwen, China's vice minister of commerce, and ambassador Israhyananda Dhalladoo, permanent representative of Mauritius to the United Nations Office at Geneva, signed the Memorandum of Understanding on China-Mauritius negotiations on FTA between ministry of commerce of the People's Republic of China and the minister of foreign affairs, regional integration and international trade of the Republic of Mauritius.
Wang was attending the 11thWorld Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the MOU was signed, China's ministry of commerce said on its website.
China is the second largest trade partner and the largest import origin of Mauritius. In November 2016, both countries started joint feasibility research on FTA negotiations, which was the first such process between China and the African countries. The FTA negotiations are in the interests of both China and Mauritius, which will facilitate further deepening of economic and trade ties between the two countries, manifested an earlier MOU.
The establishment of Sino-Mauritius free trade zone (FTZ) will not only be favorable to boosting bilateral trade and investment between the two counties, but will also infuse a new momentum to the transformation of relations between China and the African counties. It will also help promote the Belt and Road Initiative in Africa.